Assembly members could be sanctioned for Aleaga video; Noboa’s poll numbers decline; High court rules against new emergency declaration

May 15, 2024 | 0 comments

National Assembly President Henry Kronfle said Tuesday that sanctions may be applied to Citizens Revolution Assembly members for attempting to allow fugitive Ronny Aleaga to address the Assembly via video link on Monday. The attempt occurred during a hearing in which Attorney General Diana Salazar was discussing criminal investigations. Kronfle’s reference was to President of the Assembly Audit Commission Pamela Aguirre and to commission member Lenin Barreto who opened the link to Aleaga on the Assembly video screen.

National Assembly President Henry Kronfle

“It appears that a violation of Assembly rules may have taken place and, more important, a violation of the law as well,” Kronfle said. “Someone sent him [Aleaga] the link to the session and we need to determine who that was.”

Salazar and much of the Assembly walked out when Aleaga appeared on the screen, leaving the session without a quorum.

A former Citizens Revolution Assemblyman, Aleaga fled the country in March after a warrant for his arrest was issued. According to the Metastasis corruption case investigation, Aleaga is linked to criminal gang leader Leandro Norero, alias El Patron, and may have ties to the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

According to various sources, Areaga is believed to be in Colombia or Venezuela.

Noboa’s poll numbers drop
In its latest survey, polling company Comunicaliza reports that President Daniel Noboa’s popularity has dropped below 60% for the first time. In a survey of 4,293 voters concluded on May 12, Noboa had a 59.3% favorability rating.

On a question of whether Ecuador is headed in the right direction, opinion was divided with 45% saying yes while another 45% said no.

Ecuadorians continue to say that crime and insecurity are their top concerns, at 30%, while 17.7% list lack of employment opportunities as their number one issue. Other major concerns are the overall economic condition of the country, 15.2%, and corruption, 9,1%.

In its poll notes, Comunicaliza said that public opinion is beginning to turn to the February 2025 national election, particularly to the presidential race. “Despite his decline in popularity, President Noboa continues to be the leader among announced candidates and candidates yet to be announced,” the pollsters said. “Insecurity continues to dominate national concerns and this issue favors Noboa.”

In a poll conducted after the national referendum April 21, Noboa led second-place challenger Jan Topić by 25% with the yet-to-be-named challenger from Citizens Revolution coming in third.

Court rules against new emergency declaration
The Constitutional Court has rejected the government’s 60-day emergency declaration for El Oro, Los Ríos, Manabí and Santa Elena Provinces, saying it did not provide proper justification for the order. On April 30, President Daniel Noboa issued the declaration, saying that “continuing violence by terrorist organizations in four provinces requires additional emergency action.”

Under the declaration, the government mobilized armed forces personnel to assist National Police in law enforcement operations in the four provinces. The declaration also allowed police to enter homes, businesses and other dwellings without a court order.

In its ruling, the court majority wrote: “Executive Decree 250 [for the emergency declaration] has not provided adequate justification for the cause of internal armed conflict, according to parameters mandated by the Constitution.”

Two judges dissented, claiming circumstances justified the emergency. In her dissent, Judge Teresa Nuques said violence in the coastal region is an “ongoing threat” to the country. “It should also be noted that results of the recent national referendum and consultation will, in the future, give the government the authority to use armed forces in emergency situations without the opinion of the court,” she wrote.

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